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Top five managers who could replace Xavi at Barcelona

Published at :January 31, 2024 at 5:12 PM
Modified at :January 31, 2024 at 5:12 PM
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Xavi will step down as the manager at the end of 2023-24 season

Although from afar life as a footballer or even as a coach of a big club seems all shining and good, it’s a tough job indeed. Yes, it is a job after all! FC Barcelona appointed former midfield maestro Xavi as their manager back in November 2021. After a fairly good management display as the head coach of Al-Sadd SC in Qatar, everyone was excited. Especially the Barca fans who loved and adored their former number 6 from his playing days. And why wouldn’t they be?

In the Premier League, the world has seen Mikel Arteta come back to Arsenal as a head coach and do wonders for his old club. Xavi Hernández seemingly was Barcelona’s light in the dark after the dismal performance of the Catalan giants under Ronald Koeman. Even though Xavi delivered the LaLiga and Supercopa de Espana trophy last season, the club is now under immense pressure. After a 5-3 defeat at home to Villarreal, in the post-match press conference, Xavi finally announced that he would be stepping down as Barca boss by the end of the season.

Given there is ample time, the board of directors along with Joan Laporta should select the best candidate possible. The following managers are top in world football and have a chance of nailing the job.

5. Míchel

The Spanish first tier of football division is known to have two main title contenders followed by a third. Real Madrid and Barcelona are those big guns while Atlético de Madrid takes their chances once in a while. And if anyone is not following LaLiga, one will be amazed to hear that the 2023-24 LaLiga table is currently led by none of them.

It is Girona who currently leads the league under the managerial direction of Míchel. Míchel was appointed by the Catalonia outfit four months before Xavi took over the charge at FC Barcelona. In the same period, the former Rayo Vallecano midfielder has taken Girona from second division to first, then a 10th finish in LaLiga and are currently at the top of the league.

4. Xabi Alonso

Xabi Alonso Real Madrid
Liverpool are also after Xabi Alonso’s signature

As a defensive midfielder, Xabi Alonso was a very big name in world football during his playing days. The man had played for Liverpool, Real Madrid and even Bayern Munich. That’s some consistency in performance which keeps a player at the top for so long. After turning to a managerial course, there were doubts about whether it would be fruitful career for him.

After acquiring his UEFA Pro Licence coaching license, Alonso gained some experience at Real Madrid U14s and Real Sociedad B team. Bayer Leverkusen came with the opportunity for a first-team managerial experience in October 2022. Leverkusen were second bottom in the Bundesliga at the moment and by the season’s end, the wizard at the helm guided them to a UEFA Europa League qualification finish. After 19 German first-tier league games, his side currently leads the league with 2 points more than Bayern.

3. Roberto De Zerbi

President Joan Laporta and Co. surely will be having a look at the big CVs of managers in the English Premier League. One such name that is expected to catch the eye more than once is Roberto De Zerbi. Roberto De Zerbi used to be an attacking midfielder during his playing days. But his coaching career has been a wide acclaimed success than the former.

De Zerbi had led Brighton & Hove Albion to a sixth finish in the PL last season. This helped them get the ticket to the UEFA Europa League. This also meant that the Seagulls finally made it to the European stage of European football for the first time in their history. His coaching style suggests it’s more about the team than individual brilliance. This is a big ‘green signal’ for the Barca job.

2. Jürgen Klopp

Before Xavi shocked the football world with the announcement of stepping down as manager, the world was still recovering from Jürgen Klopp’s announcement. Just a day or so before Xavi announced, the German head coach of Liverpool also revealed he would be leaving the Reds after this season.

Anfield got accustomed to the brimming smile of Klopp since his appointment in October 2015. And without the fanciful financial budgets of Manchester United and Manchester City, he did deliver. Titles such as UEFA Champions League, Premier League, FIFA Club World Cup, FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FA Community Shield have made it to the trophy cabinet under his leadership. Laporta and his staff will have to come up with a way to convince Jürgen Klopp because he also suggested taking some time off from football.

1. José Mourinho

Jose Mourinho Roma Serie A
José Mourinho was sacked by AS Roma recently

The ‘Special One’ could come in as a surprise for many. José Mourinho has fought with Barcelona many times than one could remember. From his coaching days in Real Madrid to even saying “It is clear that I will end my career without having coached Barca.” during his Inter Milan spell.

But this is football, anything can happen. We have seen Luís Figo cross borders to join Real Madrid and still survive the backlash. In the case of Mourinho, who is known to do things his way he can leave everyone dumbfounded by taking the managerial post at FC Barcelona. And if Mourinho’s arrival to Barcelona after sacking by AS Roma doesn’t add fuel to the fire, we don’t know what else will.

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